I'm Jason "David Wong" Pargin, former Executive Editor at Cracked who now spends his days dealing with irritable bowel symptoms while zombie-scrolling on his phone. And also writing books. If you're wondering what projects I've been working on since jettisoning myself from the site just prior to the COVID outbreak, well, the answer is complicated ...
... but mostly, it's this:
That's the book trailer for Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick, my latest sci-fi novel about a bizarre future that by publication day will probably only be about 10% dumber than our present. You can pre-order it at B&N, Amazon or Bookshop or anywhere else that sells books. It's the second novel in a series but you don't have to have read the first one to get it (though that one is $2.99 right now in ebook form, if you want to go all-in -- it's called Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits).
Look, the way I see it, what we really need right now are distractions. Granted, what we need more than distractions is a COVID vaccine and better leadership and police reform and a guarantee that our votes will count this November and a bunch of other things, but I know distractions are somewhere on the list and it's the only one I can actually help with, so here you go.
Speaking of which, how is your mental health these days? Me, I've found that if you ever decide to quit a job to focus on mental health problems that have become physical health problems, it's best not to do that when the nation is on the cusp of a slow-moving cataclysm of disease, social upheaval and total economic collapse. I also found out that if you've been a workaholic your whole life that you might suddenly realize at age 45 that you have no hobbies and, in fact, are not sure at all what even people do for fun. Was everybody really baking bread during the lockdown or was that just a meme? I still don't know.
So I've mostly spent my days obsessively following inconsequential Twitter skirmishes (shout out to everyone who knows what the "Worm Twitter" controversy is!) and trying to figure out how to write my next book (a sequel to this one) in a way that doesn't reference the Coronavirus or the suffocating feeling of being locked in a sealed room that slowly fills with a hot sludge of terrifying headlines and viral videos of people going apeshit in grocery stores. Nobody wants allegory right now.
I meant what I said about distractions; a little escapism can feel like a cool glass of water splashed onto a flaming polyester shirt. When I'm on my game, I can almost write a tale crazy enough to distract you from the fact that it could take at least a week to even finish counting the votes after election day and the subsequent legal challenges may mean we don't even know who won until after the new administration was supposed to take office. Maybe this book is just wild enough to reduce all the anxiety until it's kind of a dull hum in the background. Or maybe this book in combination with some weed? Or just the weed? I can't tell you how to allocate your entertainment budget.
For what it's worth, I strongly believe that fiction writers learn to do this for others by doing it for themselves, that they often grow up in circumstances where physical escape from anxiety isn't possible, so they find a quiet corner and learn to build their own worlds. Tolkien dreamed up his fantasy universes while in the trenches of World War I. My situation was identical to his, only my WWI was middle school and my trenches were gym class dodgeball games. I realize there's a gap in the level of trauma there but to be fair, it's probably not as great as the gap in the quality of the writing. Though I do feel like I'm better at titles.
All I'm trying to say is that I've given everything I've got to create something that will hopefully sweep you away for a few days, or longer if you read slowly, a book that is hopefully both clever and unbelievably stupid, one that the Publisher's Weekly review called "brilliant" and yet is also called Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick. Or maybe I'm just trying to distract you from the fact that I'm writing this at 2 am while waiting for the Imodium to kick in and I couldn't tell you what day it is even if you put a gun to my head.
I hope you're doing well and that includes those of you who've supported me over the years as well as those who have no idea who the fuck I am and are just reading this out of sheer, morbid curiosity. The new book will be here in October. If you want to keep up with me, my links are below, or you can just wait until I have my public meltdown in a few weeks and click on my name on the trending list.
You can pre-order Jason "David Wong" Pargin's book Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Bookshop or any place books like this are sold. You can also follow him on Twitter, his Instagram, or Facebook, or YouTube or Goodreads, or any of the many accounts he's forgotten about.